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Monthly Archives: December 2020

Check-in on our New Zealand travel blog for latest news, events and updates - along with a splash of personality from the whole team at Bella Vista!  

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Mountain Bike Canterbury


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There are so many mountain biking options, for every level of confidence and expertise in Mid Canterbury, you can stay and play for days on our trails.

Hi, I’m Michelle, owner/ operator of the Bella Vista Ashburton along with my husband Paul and daughter Stella. I am an avid mountain biker and love nothing more than riding the local tracks with my family and friends.  

I’ve lived in this district most of my life and worked in the Outdoor Education sector for years and I just love being in the outdoors. I enjoy promoting a positive culture of mountain biking in the community and I’m happy to share my knowledge with you, to help you discover and explore the best places to go for a relaxed and easy ride with the family, and the more adventurous or adrenalin fuelled fun rides in Mid Canterbury.

A local gem and one of my favourites is right on my door step - The Ashburton River Trail loop and Skills Park, a really nice place following a single track, designed for fun for all the family and it’s e-bike friendly.  The Skills Park is an area developed by Mountain Bike Ashburton for riders to practice and improve their skills. We have pump tracks, jumps, rock gardens and wooden structures of varying difficulty including for kids!

 

Ashburton Skills Park

 

The 11.5 km  river track is mostly Grade 3, with easy or more difficult options around all the nice curves, berms, humps, sweeping dips, bridges, non threatening drop offs, wooden structures and rock gardens.  It  is a wonderful ride for beginners and is interesting for riders of all skills. The trail is well looked after by volunteers and sign posted to guide riders through the named sections in a clockwise direction, with turn around points in serval places to shorten the ride. You can find out more by visiting the Ashburton MTB website  or the mountain bike trail directory, Trailforks 

Other trails close by are Lake Hood and Hakatere Ride to the beach, both making for a very pleasant spin. Cross Country adventure can be found found in the spectacular high country at the Hakatere Conservation Park and an adrenaline rush at the Mt Hutt Bike Park, only a 45 min drive away.

 

Mountain Bike Canterbury

 

With your ride completed, return to Bella Vista Motel Ashburton to wash down your bikes, enjoy a comfortable nights sleep, all ready for the next exciting day. If you need some help with gear, check out my friends from Stocked Cycles for advice.

 I can't believe nobody has commented on this at all. This is a really fun spot with fun little jumps and the straight roller section was a blast to work on manuals through rollers. Pump track is super fun. Thank you for building this spot we had a blast.

Ashburton is a great place to base yourself as you enjoy all the local mountain biking adventures. Give me a call to book your next break away with the family - 03 3077505.  We look forward to hosting you.

 

 

Mountain Bike Ashburton


Top Places to Eat in Kaikoura


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Mention that you are staying in Kaikoura to friends and family and that you and are looking for local Kaikoura restaurant recommendations, they will invariably tell you to head up the coast for a beautiful 20 minute drive to enjoy freshly cooked seafood at the iconic Nin's Bin.

Nins Bin Kaikoura

 

Whilst this is great advice and Nin's Bin is an awesome stop, there are plenty of terrific restaurants in Kaikoura town centre that you can enjoy when staying at Bella Vista.  Our Kaikoura accommodation situated just above the town means any night out for dinner is just a mere stroll away.  Here are our favourites.

 

Pier Hotel

The Pier Hotel is one of Kaikoura’s most iconic places to eat, situated right on the coast looking out over the sea to the stunning panoramic views of the Kaikoura ranges.  Built in the 1800s the Pier Hotel is amazing summer or winter with the view well worth the visit but the food is also amazing in its own right!  Offering fresh seafood and of course the famous Kaikoura Crayfish(lobster) as well as other culinary delights, the menu offers something for everyone. The Pier Hotel is located 15min walk from the town and 20minutes walk from the Bella Vista Motel or a short 5 min drive.

 

Pier Hotel Kaikoura

 

Kaikoura Seafood BBQ

The famous Kaikoura Seafood BBQ featured in Lonely Planet as the best place to get Crayfish(lobster). Situated on the beach before Point Kean Seal Colony this long-standing seaside BBQ also does great chowder, fish and whitebait fritters. Definitely a must do on a visit to Kaikoura the BBQ is a 30 minutes’ walk along the coast from town and 35 minutes from the Bellavista motel, well worth making the effort to walk as Point Kean Seal Colony is only 5 more minutes’ walk up the beach!

Kaikoura Seafood BBQ

 

Coopers Catch

Situated right in the middle of town, 5 minutes’ walk from the Bellavista Motel Coopers Catch is the ultimate place to enjoy good old kiwi fish and chips, hard to miss with the guaranteed huge crowd of people outside Coopers Catch does seafood like no other, their moto is “We don’t make fast food, we make good food as fast as we can” is right on the money.  The best place in town to get seafood like no other.

Coopers Catch

Whaler

Another great place to eat right in the middle of town, 5 minutes’ walk from the Bella Vista motel.  The Whaler is famous for its steaks and ribs, with a huge fire roaring in the winter and the amazing views of the snow-capped Kaikoura ranges as a backdrop from the deck who could think of a better way to spend the afternoon or evening.

The Whaler Kaikoura

 

Groper Garage

Famous in town for its pizza and pasta the Groper garage was formally a fuel garage and is also in the middle of town, 5 minutes’ walk away from the Bella Motel.  Featuring two large roaring fires this is certainly well worth the visit for both its food and ambiance.

 

Groper Garage

 

If none of these options quite take your fancy, do get in touch and we're sure we'll find some other suitable eating options that you can enjoy in Kaikoura.  We look forward to hosting you.


10 Great Bike Rides in Wanaka


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Wanaka is becoming the must-visit destination for cyclists.  Whether you are a mountain bike rider or prefer a road bike, there are plenty of options to choose from.  The team at Bella Vista Wanaka accommodation will be happy to host you and lend you their advice during your stay.

 

Bike Wanaka

 

Here's Bella Vista's rundown of the top ten rides in the Wanaka region:

1. Hawea River Track (MTB)

Suitable for all ages and experience, this 12km riverside track is over easy country and links Lake Hawea township to Wanaka, via Albert Town. Plenty of opportunities to stop for a coffee and a treat! 

 

2. Newcastle & Upper Clutha River Track Loop (MTB)

By combining the Newcastle and Upper Clutha River Track you get a great loop circuit of about 35km in length. With stunning views up and down the Clutha River, and plenty of places to stop for a beer or coffee, this is a good track for those looking for something a bit longer. Stop off at the Luggate Hotel, Hook or Pembroke Patisserie and Double Black Café for treats on the way!

 

3. Glendhu Bay Track & Bike Glendhu (MTB)

For spectacular lake and mountain views, it's hard to go past the 15km Glendhu Bay Track. The first section of the track is quite hilly with some short, steep sections and drops, intended for intermediate riders only. Be sure to watch out for and give way to pedestrians. 

Just up the road from Glendhu Bay is Bike Glendhu, Wanaka's newest mountain bike park. The park consists of 1,000 hectares over impeccable trails, designed for specifically for mountain biking. With peaks that drop from sky to water, alpine rocks, roots and remarkable views, it's a paradise for dirt lovers. 

 

4. Sticky Forest (MTB)

This fun network of single tracks makes the best of the pine forest located within the Wanaka township. There are over twenty tracks to choose from for intermediate to advanced riders. To get some practice nailing those jumps, head to Lismore Jump Park. 

 

5. Deans Bank & Hikuwai Loop (MTB)

The Hikuwai Loop is about a 9km circuit depending on where you start and finish the track. Deans Bank is an 11km fast, flowing single track loop for intermediate to advanced mountain bikers with some great banks and berms. 

 

6. Cardrona Valley (MTB & Road Bike)

In the summer months, you can head up to Cardrona Alpine Resort for downhill biking and mountain carting, while across the valley on the Pisa Range are a number of tracks and even huts to stay in overnight. For road bikers, the 90km return ride to the top of the Crown Range offers a great workout as well.

 

7. Treble Cone Return (Road Bike)

The rolling terrain of Mt Aspiring Road makes for great road riding, with several fast flats that are irresistible for testing your sprinting legs. 45km, 1-2 hours return.

 

8. Lake Hawea Circuit (Road Bike)

Generally, a flat or gently undulating ride, the 50km loop from Wanaka to Lake Hawea and back via Wanaka Airport is mostly on quiet, rural roads and includes great views of Lake Hawea. Maybe this is why it is a favourite with the locals.

 

9. The Neck (Road Bike)

This must be one of the most spectacular road bike rides in New Zealand and offers epic lake and mountain scenery. Turn around at The Neck for an 80km return ride from Wanaka, or continue to Makarora and even Haast Pass for even more spectacular scenery and views of Mt Aspiring National Park. Warning: The road does get hillier from The Neck onwards! 

 

10. Tarras & Ardgour Road Loop (Road Bike)

A fast, mostly flat ride through the Upper Clutha River valley and onwards to Tarras where you take a superb section of quiet, rural road and loop back around to Tarras. Luckily, there is a great coffee stop here to help keep you going on this 95km ride.

 

Bella Vista Wanaka accommodation is located right in the centre of town, just one block from Lake Wanaka.  If you are travelling with your bike do get in touch to ensure we can meet all your cycle focused needs.  We are looking forward to hosting you.


Summer in Lake Taupo


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Long summer days at Great Lake Taupo are abuzz with water-skiers, boats, kayaks, and swimmers. With warm and settled weather, make sure you get out of your Bella Vista Taupo accommodation and have endless fun on the lake!

The trout-filled lake is a world renowned fishing paradise. Charter a fishing boat and drop your line, we are sure you will catch some trout. Most of the charters are happy to clean your catch and even smoke the trout for you!  So not just a great day out and dinner to take home.

If you are looking for something even more relaxed and leisurely, jump on board one of the lake cruise operators.  You have the option to choose from a steamboat, catamaran, or even a sailing boat. All of them will take you across the lake to Mines Bay to view the famous Taupo Maori Rock Carving Ngatoroirangi was completed as recently as the late 1980s.  Towering 10 metres high from the water, the carving is an absolute must-see.

 

Sail Barbery

 

One of the most popular water activities on the lake is kayaking. The Mines Bay half-day tour will suit those with the energy to paddle and will offer the benefit of getting closer to the water and nature.  For families or for someone who wants a slightly less energetic paddle, join Canoe & Kayak on the Waikato River Float where you will gently coast along with the river current. 

 

Kayak Taupo

 

If you are after some water activities which offer a little more adrenaline such as jet ski, or boat with water ski and wake board these are also available for hire.  Or maybe you are wanting to try another popular option such as a stand up paddle board.  The best place to hire equipment is Lakefun by the habour.

 

LakeFun Taupo

If water activities are not your thing, pack up a picnic and head to one of the local popular spots such as Secombe Park or Wharewaka Point where you can relax by the lakefront and enjoy watching the day go by.

 

Whatever you end up doing during your stay in Taupo, we're certain that the Bella Vista accommodation Taupo will meet your every need.  Book now!